Four years ago (HOW HAS IT BEEN THAT LONG?!) I wrote a series of blog posts about babytime. You can find them all on the newly reorganized Storytime Resources page. In one of the posts I shared some of my favourite books to read at a baby storytime. My baby storytimes are aimed at ages 0 – 18 months. I have large groups of 50 – 90 people so I tend to choose books that are interactive, short, and grab the babies’ attention. I’m back today with part 2 of my favourite babytime books! Some of them are new, some of them are old. All rocked my storytimes.
5 Little Ducks by Denise Fleming
I ask the caregivers to sing this one with me. The pages are bright and big making it an excellent choice for large groups. Sometimes I pause between pages and have caregivers count the duckies on their baby’s toes or fingers.
Animal Opposites: A Pop-Up Book by Petr Horacek
Each spread shows two opposing animals. There’s only an adjective + noun for each one so I encourage the caregivers to read this one with me. The pop-up elements grab the attention of little ones and caregivers can point and label the animals as we read. Super bright and colourful.
Babies Can Sleep Anywhere by Lisa Wheeler; illustrated by Carolina Buzio
This one made my 2017 Favourite Storytime Books list. When I read this one I talk to caregivers about making reading part of their everyday routine. Bedtime is a great place to start!
The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz
Look, you could probably read any Karen Katz book at babytime and be golden. I love this one because you can sing it and bounce babies at the same time. I encourage caregivers to make up their own verses as they travel around Vancouver on the bus and Skytrain.
Baby Faces Peekaboo! by DK Publishing
This is an older, oversized board book filled with the most adorable baby photographs. On each page you turn the flap to find the baby who is feeling happy, sad, grumpy, silly, or sleepy. Short and sweet!
Baby’s Firsts by Nancy Raines Day; illustrated by Michael Emberley
Find this one on my 2018 Favourite Storytime Books list. I think this also makes a great book to buy for expecting parents.
Baby Love by Angela DiTerlizzi; illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
From my 2015 favourites, this book is all about the love! I have caregivers touch baby’s body parts that are mentioned in the book as we read. For caregivers struggling to connect with their baby, just saying the word “love” can help. A great choice if you do a Baby Welcoming event too.
Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker
Baker turns the classic rhyme into a short picture book. I have caregivers count their fingers or their baby’s fingers as we read the book. Keep your pace slow. It’s so short that sometimes I read it twice in a row.
Chick by Ed Vere
This one always gets a laugh. Caregivers can easily relate to the daily tasks of their baby eating, pooping, and sleeping. Super short but super engaging.
Clive and His Babies by Jessica Spanyol
I love all of the Clive books because they break gender stereotypes. They aren’t big so they work better for smaller groups, but they showcase all the ways kids love to play.
Do Crocs Kiss? by Salina Yoon
This rhyming, silly book is great for introducing animal sounds. Babies will love the lift-the-flap feature. Also check out Do Cows Meow? if you like this one.
Dot, Stripe, Squiggle by Sarah Tuttle; illustrated by Miriam Nerlove
This one is also on my 2018 Favourite Storytime Books list too. I got creative by having caregivers make the pattern on their baby’s back or tummy. Great for smaller groups as the pictures aren’t super big.
Everyone is Yawning by Anita Bijsterbosch
Find this gem on my 2016 Favourite Storytime Books list. I have caregivers yawn with me as we read this book. We watch for any babies who mimic us which is a nice tie-in to talking about facial expressions and how to use your face as a toy.
Face to Face Safari by Sally Hewitt
We don’t circulate these giant pop-up books so it’s quite a treat to bring them out in babytime. There’s lots of text in this one but I skip it in favour of labeling the animal and describing it as I scan the room so all the babies can see. Always a stand-out!
I Am a Baby by Kathryn Madeline Allen; photographs by Rebecca Gizicki
Around 6 months of age babies will start to gravitate towards books with pictures of other babies. This one is perfect for showcasing diverse babies with all their everyday things.
It’s a Little Baby by Julia Donaldson; illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
Perfect for small groups, this is a rhyming lift-the-flap board book that you can sing! Donaldson is a master rhymer and she transfers this skill to babies seamlessly.
King Baby by Kate Beaton
Sometimes you pick a book for babytime that is solely meant for the caregivers. That is this book. Funny, clever, and definitely relatable. I keep it with me for any age group.
A Kiss Means I Love You by Kathryn Madeline Allen; photographs by Eric Futran
Another beautifully photographed book featuring close up facial expressions and words babies hear in their daily lives. The picture book version is out of print but you can still get the board book version.
Leo Loves Baby Time by Anna McQuinn; illustrated by Ruth Hearson
All of the Leo books make a great addition to babytime and the title of this one pretty much says it all. I like having some of the Lola books on display so caregivers can continue with this series as their babies grow.
My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith; illustrated by Julie Flett
Flett is one of my all-time favourite illustrators. This board book is perfect for smaller groups and shows present-day Indigenous families celebrating things that bring them joy.
Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
I have the oversized board book version of this well known story for little ones. I think the rhythm of the text and length of the story is perfect for babytime. Plus you can sneak in an early literacy tip about how animal sounds help babies with phonological awareness.
Nose to Toes, You are Yummy! by Tim Harrington
From my 2015 list, this one is brightly illustrated and provides ample opportunities for caregivers and babies to interact while you read. It’s also a song which can you either sing yourself or play during storytime.
Pop-Up Sea Creatures by Sally Hewitt; illustrated by Chris Gilvan-Cartwright
This is another giant pop-up book that I talk about more than read. The babies love the way the sea creatures jump off the page. I especially love sharing it during the summer when families spend time at the beach or the aquarium.
Say Hello! by Linda Davick
I think you could get away with reading this book every single week as part of your welcome routine. That would give caregivers a chance to really learn the words. Plus we know how important repetition is to learning. A wonderful book to practice the skill of waving too!
Say Hello Like This! by Mary Murphy
Murphy is one of my Toddler Storytime Authors to Know, but her books work great for babytime too! I love how this one encourages a loving interaction between baby and caregiver. Plus you get to make animal sounds and have fun!
Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort
There are tons of singable books to choose from for babytime, but I love this one because of the diversity of animals and familiar tune. It works great with any age and you can easily translate it to a felt story or puppet story.
What Does Baby Want? by Tupera Tupera
I guess you have to judge your crowd for this one, but my caregivers loved this story of an upset baby who just wants to breastfeed. Some reviews call it “shockingly shaped” but I’m all for the normalization of something that is…totally normal.
You Are One by Sara O’Leary; illustrated by Karen Klassen
From my 2016 list, this one is great to read at the end of a babytime session and have caregivers reflect on the things their baby has learned. If you have a small group you can even go around and have them share a milestone. A Canadian series that continues up to three.
What are your favourite books to read at babytime? I am always looking for new ones to feature so please leave a comment sharing what has worked for you!